NFL and Tottenham Agree To Play at New Stadium in London
The NFL and European soccer team, Tottenham Hotspur FC have signed a deal that will see the former play a minimum of two games every year for a period of ten years at the new stadium that is under construction for Tottenham. This is a bold move by the NFL to continue growing its brand across the globe.
The deal which was announced on Wednesday would be effective 2018, when the new stadium is expected to be ready. The stadium will be designed with a retractable roof and a grass field, however, the NFL games will be held on an artificial surface that is built under the grass field. This will prevent the need for painting the grass field and also prevent the soccer field from destruction during NFL matches.
According to a report from the NFL, ‘’this innovative field will enhance greater flexibility in the planning of games, since the NFL will have its own surface where all games held on the new stadium will be played.’’
The deal is an implication that the NFL is committed to growing its popularity into Europe. However, Commissioner Goodell and other league officials have not been very clear on whether there will be a franchise in London.
Since 2007, the NFL has been able to change its focus and played regular-season matches in Wembley Stadium, London. The success of those matches, which featured various teams has ensured the expansion of the league’s schedule to include three regular-season games this season.
The move by the NFL has been described by league officials as one aimed at securing a more permanent venue for its games in London. This was triggered by the limitations at Wembley stadium like lack of some facilities and amenities that are critical for NFL matches.
Currently, the NFL executives are looking towards stationing one team in Los Angeles, although they may shift focus to placing another in London later on. In recent discussions, the Jacksonville Jaguars, that signed an agreement to play one game at home in London for four years in a row through 2016 has been identified as a potential team to relocate to London.
The new stadium that is under construction for Tottenham in north London is part of the team’s efforts to joining the ranks of Arsenal and other teams that have managed to secure expansive home grounds as a means of generating more revenue. The new grounds is part of the Northumberland Development Project, which covers more than 20 acres.
In signing the deal with Tottenham Hotspur, the NFL also pointed out that in addition to playing at least two games annually at the new stadium, it could also play more matches in other parts of the United Kingdom within the 10 years period of agreement. In the NFL’s deal with Wembley Stadium, they still have two more seasons.
London Mayor Boris Johnson in a statement said, ‘’Touchdowns in Tottenham can only enhance our reputation as an international sporting powerhouse and enable us to make another stride towards our aim of having an NFL franchise permanently placed here in London.’’